New, Weird Details Just Emerged About an Armed Militia Standoff in Massachusetts

Eleven people have been arrested.

Traffic on Interstate 95 was diverted in the area of an hours long standoff with a group of armed men that partially shut down the highway in Wakefield, Massachusetts, on Saturday.Michael Dwyer/AP

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A standoff between police and members of an armed militia group near Wakefield, Massachusetts, forced a shutdown of parts of Interstate 95 on Saturday morning. Eleven people have been arrested, officials say.

According to the police, authorities first noticed the group refilling their vehicles with gas on the side of the highway early Saturday morning. The men, in military gear, initially refused to put down their weapons or provide identification, and some fled into the woods.

The event, which lasted several hours with no reported gun shots or injuries, was apparently partially captured on camera by a member of the group, which calls themselves the Rise of the Moors, and live-streamed on YouTube Saturday morning, the Daily Beast reports. “We’re not anti-government, we’re not anti-police,” he says in the video, “and we’re willing to give them any information they need so that way we can continue with our peaceful journey.” 

According to the Rise of the Moors’ website, the Daily Beast reports, the group is dedicated to “educating new Moors and influencing our Elders.” There’s more:

The Southern Poverty Law Center says that several organizations and lone people have identified with the Moorish sovereign citizen movement in the U.S. since the 1990s. The movement is associated with the anti-government sovereign citizens movement, and some Moorish sovereigns have come into conflict with federal and state governments over their refusal to obey laws. They believe that African Americans “constitute an elite class within American society with special rights,” SPLC writes.

The group was reportedly headed to “private land” in Maine, where they were planning to “train.”

This post has been updated. 

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Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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